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ADELAIDE Independent Bimonthly Literary Magazine / Revista Literária Independente Bimensal, New York / Lisboa, Online Edition  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR BOTH TOGETHER
By Mather Schneider

 

 

 

 

Virginia Ximena Suarez was having a sidewalk sale. How else was an old lady supposed to make money? Her light bill was due, the cooler stopped working and the roof leaked. And her only son, now 38 years old, had come over and taken her last peso to go get drunk. Outside of her tiny house in Hermosillo she hung used pants and shirts and shorts on a wire she had strung from the house to the wooden utility pole on the curb. Then she sat on an old lawn chair on the covered driveway out of the hot sun and waited for customers. The dusty streets in Hermosillo are always teeming with people and several stopped but no one bought anything. She braided her long black hair into one big braid and had two cups of coffee.

After an hour or so a little boy came walking up, very thin and brown, maybe 10 years old. He carried a pair of tennis shoes.

“Senora,” he said. “You want to buy these tennies?”

“No, I’m selling, not buying.”

“Come on, senora! I’ll sell them cheap!”

“No, boy, I don’t want them.”

“Two hundred pesos, senora, that’s all! Look at them, they’re like new!”

“What a stubborn little thing you are! I said NO!”

The boy was pissed.

“I’m a twin, old woman,” he said.

It is believed in Sonora that twins have the power to curse people.

“You will have bad luck all day!” he said. “You will not sell a single thing.”

“Ah, you little brat, you don’t scare me, get out of here!”

The boy walked away up the dirty potholed street in his ragged sandals.

As she sat there Virginia began to worry. Was it possible the boy was a twin, or was he just bullshitting her? She’d never seen him around the barrio before.  

In fact she was a twin herself. Virginia sat in her lawn chair and thought of her childhood. One morning a man had been drunk and had driven his truck through the front wall of her family’s house where she and her twin sister and her two brothers had been eating breakfast. Her mother had been in the other room and came screaming out and searched for her children in the wreckage. Virginia and her two brothers were huddled up against the far wall, unharmed. At first they couldn’t find Virginia’s twin sister. They called her name, “Lupita!” Then they heard her small voice and found her wedged underneath the truck, also unhurt except for some scratches. The man had felt terrible about what he had done and worked for a year to repair the house at his own expense. It was this same house Virginia now lived in, alone.

Five years after the truck crashed through the wall Lupita walked to the little store on the corner to buy tortillas and was never seen again. Being a twin had not helped her. They searched for weeks. The man who had crashed into their house in his truck had even helped them search. Virginia cursed the man who took her twin sister. Every night in bed she cursed him. She had no face to put with this evil stranger and had no idea if the curse ever had any effect. It never felt like it did. She cursed him now 57 years later.

The day wore on and she sold nothing. Many people passed but few stopped and if they did stop they merely fingered a shirt or a pair of pants and then walked on. “Name a price,” she said to anyone who stopped, but still had no takers.

Late in the afternoon when she was about ready to put everything away, she saw the same boy walking up the street toward her house. Or maybe it was his twin?

“Is it you, boy?” she said. “Where’s your tennies?”

“I sold them,” he said. He proudly showed her his pesos. “You had your chance. You missed out.”

“Ah, good for you.”

The boy started looking through the pants and shirts, picked out one of each.

“How much?”

“For you,” Virginia said, “a hundred and fifty pesos.”

“Each? Or for both?”

“For both together.”

“How about one twenty five?” he said.

“One thirty.”

He thought about it for a few seconds, checking again the quality of the merchandise.

“All right,” he said.

He gave her some pesos and stuffed the rest into his grimy shorts pocket. He put the shirt on and carried the pants and began to walk away.

“Hold on,” she said.

She went into the house and got a homemade chocolate popsickle from her freezer. She brought it out and gave it to him. He looked at it distrustfully.

“How much?” he said.

“Nothing, it’s free. Just don’t curse me anymore.”

“Deal,” he said, and walked happily down the street eating his popsickle.  
 
She put her clothing away, singing an old Mexican song, hoping tomorrow he would come back. Then she went to the freezer and got herself a popsickle, too.

 

 

 

About the Author:

m_schneider

Mather Schneider was born in 1970 in Peoria, Illinois. He lived in Washington state for many years and now lives in Tucson. His poetry and prose have appeared in the small presses since 1994 in places such as River Styx, Nimrod, Hanging Loose, Pank and Rosebud. He has 4 full length books available on Amazon including the July 2017 release of Prickly by New York Quarterly Press. He recently won runner up in the 2017 Rattle poetry chapbook competition.

 

 

 

 

 

     
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